Masters of the City – City Manager launches new DIT MA

  • DIT and Dublin City unite to offer unique course on the city
  • Innovation in public service delivery for 21st century

Dublin, 29th June 2012: In September, a small group of postgraduate students from different disciplinary backgrounds and specialisms will begin their studies on a unique Masters in Design Practice programme at DIT. Called The Dublin Project, this year-long MA programme will challenge participants to collaborate on a group project, using live data from Dublin City Council, with the aim of making a positive difference to Dublin City, its citizens and its visitors. The programme is a joint initiative of Dublin City Council (DCC), Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), and Design TwentyFirst Century (D21C).


Pictured at the launch of ‘The Dublin Project’ from left to right – Kieran Corcoran, DIT, Barry Sheehan, DIT, Barry MacDevitt, CEO of Design Twentyfirst Century, John Tierney, Dublin City Manager and Professor Brian Norton, DIT President.

The MA in Design Practice - The Dublin Project is an internationally unique approach by a city and higher education to learning and innovation in the 21st century. It is a one-year, three-semester programme, delivered by DIT and supported by a large network of academic and practicing industry experts drawn from both DIT and the Institute without Boundaries (IwB) based in Toronto, Canada. These will include experts in graphic, spatial, digital, product and systems design, through to urban planning, architecture, community engagement, health sciences, engineering and business.

Launching the programme, Dublin City Manager John Tierney said: “We want to bring together the extensive resources and expertise that are available to us here in Dublin to help us in taking a new approach to problem-solving, and to meeting challenges with creative ideas. Dublin is part of a highly connected global economy and we want the City to be competitive economically and attractive socially and culturally for its citizens and for those who want to establish their lives and their businesses here. The Dublin Project is an innovative idea that builds on the kind of new thinking Dublin City Council is incorporating into the way we approach our task of providing services in the City.”

The objective of this programme is to leverage the combined talents of the Masters students, DIT academics, City officials and industry experts. The course will provide real-time experience to the Masters students to collaborate with DCC in enhancing the City’s diverse operations and how citizens experience them.

Each year, students on MA in Design Practice - The Dublin Project will focus on specific issues facing the City. In this first year, they will work in collaboration with students from the Institute without Boundaries (IwB) based in George Brown College, Toronto. The two student groups on either side of the Atlantic will focus on the same issue and the IWB group will visit Dublin in October to familiarise themselves with the city and to place the challenge in context. The groups will then continue to collaborate during the year, culminating in a joint exhibition to take place in 2013 in both Dublin and Toronto.

Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) will deliver the Masters programme, led by the School of Art and Design, and drawing on expertise across a range of disciplines. Asked if he saw the innovative programme as a challenge for the institution, Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT, said it was one that colleagues particularly relished. “DIT is a multi-disciplinary institution, long embedded in Dublin City, and with a strong record of engagement with communities and enterprise. We are delighted to be involved in developing this programme with our colleagues in Dublin City Council and Design Twentyfirst Century. The participants will be pioneers and will have license to develop new models for addressing important issues facing us all. The opportunity to work with counterparts in Toronto and to see our issues through their eyes will make for a very rewarding experience for this group of students.”

Design Twentyfirst Century has also collaborated with Dublin City Council on a number of projects, including “Designing Dublin”. Speaking at the Civic Offices at Wood Quay, Barry MacDevitt, CEO of Design Twentyfirst Century, said the ultimate aim of this collaboration is to see Dublin continue to transform itself into an open, flexible, creative city fit for the 21st century. “If we are to create a prosperous future, we need to actively design it. Dublin, like many other cities worldwide is re-imagining how it provides the services expected of it as it prepares for the emerging requirements of a city of the future. The goal here is for Dublin City to have an ongoing Masters programme based on multidisciplinary design principles, dedicated to generating fresh new prototyped solutions for the city and in doing so equip people with the skills and confidence to tackle complex interconnected challenges.

DIT is now accepting applications on this exciting new programme. Numbers will be limited to ten, and applicants will be invited to attend for an interview in the summer of 2012 with a view to commencing study in September 2012. Successful applicants will be graduates of a wide range of disciplines, but an interest in trans-disciplinary and collaborative approaches will be a significant advantage. Further information is available from programme leader Barry Sheehan, lecturer in Design at DIT.


Dublin City Master Class: Dublin City Manager John Tierney and DIT President, Professor Brian Norton at the launch of a unique Masters programme ‘The Dublin Project’

Further information

For further information on this programme, and to register an application, click here.


Barry Sheehan, Programme Leader –

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